Weaving the Word – 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Yr A

Hearing the same story from different writers is always illuminating as we can see from this week’s account from John’s Gospel of the baptism of Jesus.

(try as I might I have been unable to source this picture. If you are the artist or know who the artist is please message me and I will reference them.)

Even after reading, praying and rereading this account in preparation for the entry to the parish newsletter, I was still taken aback by the first two words proclaimed by our priest:

‘Seeing Jesus…’ my concentration lost and my mind quickly jumping from thought to thought, I tried to bring myself back to the present and catch up with the words of the Gospel.

‘I did not know Him…’ whoa, what? My mind took off again – but you saw Him, He is your cousin, you leapt in the womb at the Visitation, you know He is greater than you, that He will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. You claim you are not worthy to carry His sandals and yet you do not know Him?

Throughout the rest of Mass these two phrases began to merge together in a way that they had not previously, despite all my working with the text during the week.

How often do I see Jesus in my day? He is there of course in every encounter, every person, every tweeter and face book poster. Yet how easy it is to forget, to my shame it is often not His presence that influences the way I respond to others.

It is easier for me to recognise Jesus in the homeless man that sits outside my local supermarket or those I say hello to on my walk to the station. It is easier to see Jesus in the charity appeals for the poor, the refugee, the sick and the prisoner.

But in all honesty, it is more difficult to remember to see Jesus in those who I know and know well and although I have no idea why it might have something to do with familiarity and sameness. Most of us are friends with those who hold similar values and ideas as ourselves. The Jesus I once saw in them has become comfortable and no longer challenges me to go deeper. Might it be that for me familiarity really has bred contempt?

John the Baptist saw Jesus but also declared ‘I do not know Him’. The more I ponder these words, the more I realise the truth of them. I too see Jesus yet do I know him? Of course one can never fully know the second person of the Trinity, the son of God fully human and fully Divine while on earth. But that must not prevent me from getting to know Him and recognise Him as our personal Lord and Saviour. He calls us into relationship, and we all know that no nourishing relationship is static.

The more I believe I know Jesus, the less I realise I know Him, and that, of course, is the reality of Mystery.

I want to rekindle my desire for the Lord, to want to know Him more. And for that I need to sharpen my focus to better see Jesus, to spend time with Scripture to better know Jesus, and pray (as I can not as I can’t) to better deepen my relationship with Jesus.

 Namaste

Reflection Points

Twice we hear John the Baptist say ‘I did not know Him …’
Where are you surprised by what you know and do not know about Jesus?
How does this enable you to enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ?
Where are you aware of the presence of the Spirit at work in your life this week?


For Children
What do you know about your friends?
How do you get to know them?
Do you ever think of Jesus as your friend?
How can you get to know Him better this week?


For Families
Today is Peace Sunday. Find out about
Pax Christi and see if there is any way you can become
involved in their work http://paxchristi.org.uk


Pax Christi’s Prayer for Peace Sunday
Loving God of peace,
Strengthen my determination to work
for a world of peace and justice;
My conviction that, whatever our
nationality or race, we are all global
citizens, one in Christ;
My courage to challenge the powerful
with the values of the gospel;
My commitment to find nonviolent
ways of resolving conflict—personal,
local, national and international;
My efforts to forgive injuries and to
love those I find it hard to love.
Amen.

 

 

Weaving the Word: The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Yr A

The baptism of the Lord celebrates a third epiphany and the end of the Christmas season. The decorations are down although the crib remains in place til Candlemas.
For me this feast brings with it space of Ordinary Time to breathe and reflect (if only for a short while) on my faith life.
I have always thought that the making of new year resolutions that encourage us to become abstemious or even give up things, an odd custom, when we are still in full party mode celebrating the Incarnation.
It seemed particularly noticeable this year with all the ‘end of a decade’ notifications on social media. I had it seems, been oblivious to this fact, let alone of the need to make extra special resolutions.

Perhaps this Feast provides a better time to grow new habits as it is through the lens of baptism that my life makes sense.

Baptism fills us with new life, not just at the time of the sacrament but everyday. Baptism is not in the past, but is actively working throughout our lives. With this new life we are called continually to a new start, to return to the Lord and live a life that reflects that we are claimed by Christ. Knowing that I belong to God, that I too am called ‘beloved’ puts the reason for new habits in to a correct perspective, one of faith. Any changes I make, need to come from the place of knowing that I am called to be fully human, ‘I have come that you might have life and have it to the full’.

If I resolve to become fit(ter) or to eat more healthily it is not because the advertising that tells me I am not perfect or I will be a happier for these resolutions tell me to be less when in reality I am called to be more, more of whom I am created to be.

If I resolve to look at my carbon footprint it is because I recognise I am connected with all of creation, that with being a Steward I have a responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle.

If I resolve to fight for justice I do so because I believe in the dignity of each and every one of us are created in the image and likeness of God.

Reflection points on the Gospel

This feast marks the end of Christmastide. What word, moment, encounter or revelation from Christmas will continue to nourish you into Ordinary Time? Through our baptism we care called, like Christ, to Servanthood. How do you respond to this invitation? How does being called ‘beloved’ by God impact on your daily life?

For Children
What might Jesus ask you to ‘allow it’ to bring you closer to the Father? Your God parents echo God’s love for you. Remember to pray and thank God for them.

For Families

How do you model Servanthood within your family? Today is Peace Sunday. How can you be agents for justice? You might get ideas here http://paxchristi.org.uk/

Prayer

Lord, for all who have made resolutions, may we be filled with the courage and strength of the Holy Spirit to carry them out with the confidence that God only ever wants what is best for us. Amen

Weaving the Word: Epiphany Yr A

Epiphany! My favourite feast.

Epiphany! Still my favourite Christmastide Feast and if you are interested in why then check out my previous post

Gearing up for Epiphany

Reflection points

Where are you troubled when asked about Jesus Christ?

Where will you search diligently for Jesus this week?

How will you give Him homage this week?

Children

Where do natural signs, stars, or nature remind you of Jesus?

Where have you been overjoyed this Christmastide? Remember to thank God for them.

What gift can you bring to the Lord?

Family

Discuss who your ‘kings’ or ‘magi’ might be today, where are they from, what do they look like, what might they bring?

Place your kings in your Crib. Although it is 12th night you might like to keep your Crib on display until Candlemas (Feb 2nd) and continue to use it as a focus for your family prayer.

Epiphany Tradition of blessing the home

Oh God

You revealed Your Son to all people

by the shinning light of a star.

We pray that You bless this home and all who live hear with Your gracious presence.

May Your love be our inspiration,

Your wisdom our guide,

Your truth our light,

Your truth our benediction.

Through Christ our Lord.

Amen

End by marking the outside of your home with chalk to say

20+C+M+B+20

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